I was going to write a post tonight about our fourth day in Taiwan as we traveled from Taipei to Tainan. But that’s not really what’s on my heart tonight. We meet our daughter in only 13 hours. I thought I’d share a few of my thoughts, what’s on my heart this last night of being a family of two. Tomorrow we start life as a family of three.
This trip to Taiwan has been eye-opening. I am falling in love with the country. Life here is so different than life in Bellevue, Washington and yet there are similarities. I’ve been watching the people here. They love and laugh and cry just as I do. And yet there are things that are very different. The pace of life is different here, though I can’t really put my finger on the difference. People are curious about Jeff and I as we walk down the street but are either too shy or reserved to say anything. We stand out. My daughter blends in.
Getting used to the traffic has been an adventure, but I love the way that people are confident about where they need to go and know that they can get there. Pedestrians, bicyclists, scooters, and drivers alike know where they want to go and don’t hesitate to jump out there. And yet it’s organized chaos.
I love the street life here. There are so many little family shops and stalls and food carts. Walking down the street, you see so many different types of foods and clothes and and more food for sale. You can get to everything on foot or take a cheap taxi ride. It’s just so alive.
And we’re taking our daughter away from all of this. Yes, I know we’re giving her a family and I do believe that family is more important than culture. But she’s losing Taiwan and its language and its culture. Her life in America is going to be drastically different than her life would be like in Taiwan. She chose to join our family, she said yes to the judge when asked, but I really wonder if she knew what she was saying yes to. Before we arrived in Taiwan, I didn’t realize just how much we were asking for her to leave behind.
Tomorrow we meet for the first time and I am both excited and terrified. I am excited for the possibilities of our life together. I am excited at the life and security and love that we are offering her. I am excited to get to know our daughter and learn what she’s good at, what she’s afraid of, what her dreams are, what makes her cry, what makes her laugh. I’m excited to watch our first movie together, to play basketball together, to go clothes shopping together, and to eat our first meal together.
And I am also terrified. We’ve been working toward adoption for over two years. We’ve been reading and researching older child adoption, culture loss, grief, trauma, transitions, and a host of other issues and challenges for so long. We’ve embraced the principle of “hope for the best but prepare for the worst.” And so we are getting ready to meet our daughter with our eyes wide open of how hard life could be. She’s had a hard life and she’s going to have emotional scars from that. The question is how deep is her pain and how much will it impact all three of us.
I wish that I could embrace adoption as a lovely gift that’s full of joy. But I know that adoption comes from loss. Our daughter already lost both of her parents. Now she’s losing her friends, her caretakers, her culture. She’s gaining parents, security, love, and hope. Our transition could be really hard or it could be really easy or anywhere in between. Both Jeff and I want to adopt again; we have been praying and hoping for an “easy” first adoption so that we will have the courage to adopt again, to say yes to another long and emotional adoption journey.
I pray that my daughter is at peace tonight. I pray that she will have courage to face all of the changes that are coming her way. I pray that she will allow us to love her.
You are amazing people and you will keep as much of her culture as possible. Not everything is possible but keeping in mind what she is losing will always keep your journey in perspective.
We will do our best! At the rate she’s going, she’ll have no trouble maintaining her Chinese reading and speaking ability. 😉 I’m more worried about how she’s going to learn English!
We will be praying for all of you. I’m super excited for you to finally see her face to face.
Thank you, Michelle! Your prayers are much appreciated!!
It may well be tough at times. We, too, prepared for the worst and we know that there is the possibility of some major potholes in the road ahead. But I think you’ve got some real aces up your sleeve:
1. You’ve been smart enough to prepare yourselves so it won’t come as quite such a shock or source of bewilderment when you hit some of the potholes
2. You’ve got a huge support network, including especially people who’ve done it themselves and can not only tell you how they’ve dealt with it but can honestly say, “I understand.” That’s a bigger comfort than I would have suspected
3. You have spent your paper pregnancy falling in love with your daughter. Love may not conquer quite ALL, but it is a powerful bulwark against the assaults of frustration, anger, confusion and helplessness that all parents feel from time to time
4. And, of course, there is God
I think – certainly I HOPE – that the problems you expect from “adopted older child / transracial adoption” &c. will be outnumbered by the more pedestrian problems of parenthood: she doesn’t want to get out of bed in the morning, why can’t she put her dirty clothes in the hamper, how long can one person talk on the telephone, and just who is this Josh character*??? But I think you are as ready as anybody can be to be a parent, so sit back and enjoy the ride. It’s a blast. And trust me: the day will come when she gives you a kiss and says “I love you” or just shows that she loves being with you, her parents. There aren’t words to describe how that feels.
(*) Remington makes a helluva shotgun. Just saying.
LOL. Jeff wants to dig a moat around our house. 😉
So far we’ve run into no surprises. But knowing that these bumps were possible / likely does not help in the exact moment you’re trying not to get frustrated! And yes, you are completely right that having a support system who can say “I get it” is SO helpful. I don’t know what I would do without you guys!!
And now you are three and the journey has begun.
I think you are right in questioning whether or not she knew exactly what she was saying “yes” to. What we think we want is sometimes thought about in terms of “not wanting it after all” but we remind ourselves that God has a hand in this and its His good plan that it look this way.
Yes, loss is indeed involved. But as you say, there is hope too. It’ll be a tricky, hard road sometimes and a lovely wonderful one at others. Chin up, take another step and another step and another step.
I listened to this one a lot as we made our own major life adjustments:
Thank you, Carrie! Listening to this one now. Having a bit of a rough afternoon…
Prayers, many prayers as you all start this new life together.
Thank you, Ann!!
Beautifully written! I feel like I’m right there with you. Happy happy day!
Thank you, Susanne!!